While driving around Brooklyn the day after both the Giants and Jets lost in the first round of the playoffs, I caught a giddy talk deejay on one of the alt-alt FM stations way on the left-hand side of the dial -- I can't keep them straight, especially since they go in and out, and when one goes I just hit the search button. Anyway, the dude was getting himself all excited to kick off his show, and as a sideline to introducing his guests he said, "And to New York football fans, sorry about the Giants and Jets both losing. I'm a Patriots fan, and we know that in the end New York teams wind up losing in the end." You know, good-natured enough, and okay, the guy is a Patriots fan so he's definitely got something worth bragging about. But since when does a Boston guy get to dump on the Giants and Jets on the radio?

Don't get me wrong -- for the most part don't have much use for muscleheaded sports fans. But hey, this is New York, and as much as I'm for the free exchange of ideas and opinions, I don't think I could get on the air in Boston and trash the Pats with impunity. I am definitely not stupid enough to go to a Philadelphia Eagles game wearing a Giants jersey -- well, and not expect to get spit on.

Now, the last thing I want to do is set up Philadelphia as a role model. Because many Eagles fans, let's face facts, are animals. But what's happening to New York here? 'Cause the last few years there are a whole lot more people wearing Red Sox caps on the streets of Manhattan.

As a certified Yankee-hater, it doesn't particularly rile me -- yet it kind of does. It's not so much I think people should threaten Red Sox fans who live in the five boroughs -- though at the 2000 Series between the Mets and the Yankees I felt like threatening the substantial fraction (40%) of Yankee fans at Shea. But it's kind of a slap in the face.

Not every other visiting color bugs me. I see a lot of Eagles jerseys the last few years out here in Flatbush, because they're good and because Donovan McNabb is (was) a standout black quarterback. And since the bygone glory days of LT, fan base of the Giants has always been solidly Manhattan/Westchester/Jersey. Plus, let's face it, Tom Coughlin lacks a certain um, reserve. Imagine a bullwhip and a pistol in his hands and he's selling chattel in Mississippi in 1840.

The Red Sox caps look like a sign of scorn for New York City -- suggesting people are just passing through, making some bucks before moving on. But I hardly recognize Manhattan anymore anyway -- and when I walk around midtown, beholding the giddy hedge-fund geniuses and fat real-estate tycoons leaving their expensive lunches, it really starts to look more like one of those insta-urban centers, like Houston or Phoenix, readymade moguls inside readymade skyscrapers.

Or maybe I just want some of their dough.

There's some weird relationship between your team and your place. It's always involved some kind of dues-paying -- like being a Mets or Jets fan & suffering over decades -- but it's also demanded cash money, to buy tickets, or to buy a franchise. There's no point in being nostalgic about the old days, cause it's always been about money.

But the Atlantic Center boondoggle here is starting to look more and more like a cynical (and quite clever move) by Ratner to leverage the ghost of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Staking the deal on the Nets was a way to buy blue-collar -- particularly African-American -- support. It even got mine, until I started thinking what a pain it already is to drive through that intersection.